I’m visiting today with Ruth Burkett Weeks aka RH Burkett, who is not only a tarot card reader and public speaker but an award winning author as well with short stories in several anthologies and a list of impressive contest wins. Her first novel, Soldiers From the Mist, was released by High Hill Press in March 2011 and is available on Amazon.com Her second novel, a paranormal romance entitled, The Rook and the Raven, was released from the Wild Rose Press as an e-book early this year. She is currently working on her third novel, The Legend of Dixie Dandelion. She is a member of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pens, Ozarks Writers League and the Northwest Arkansas Writers Workshop.
Ruth, it’s a pleasure to have you here today to visit with me. I know you have a full time job as well as being very involved in your writing career. Did you always want to be a writer, or did something push you in that direction?
A: I wrote poems and essays in English class which I enjoyed and was quite good at, but I never consciously thought I would become a writer. When I was ten, I told Mama someday I would write a real book, then life got in the way and I never gave that prediction a second thought. Forty years later, however, that prophecy came true because of a ghost that haunted my house. I owe that ghost a lot.
Yes, I understand that you had some vivid experiences prior to writing Soldiers in the Mist. Tell us about them.
A: A psychic friend came to visit and while we were talking she told me a Confederate soldier was standing in my back yard. Since I was used to her “seeing dead people” and because I didn’t live too far from the Pea Ridge Battlefield, this news didn’t surprise me. However when she told me his name was Charles Ely, I about fell off my chair. Grandma’s maiden name was Ely and she had a brother, Charles. My friend knew nothing of my family tree so I knew this was no coincidence. Charlie was trapped between worlds and unable to cross-over because of a promise he’d made over 150 years ago. He’d waited for me, his distant cousin, to move to the area so that I could tell his story and set him free.Thus Soldiers From the Mist was born. Upon great advice from the members of my critique group, The Northwest Arkansas Writer’s Workshop, I included the actual happenings and conversations I experienced with Charlie in the book, and called them Whisperings. Working with Charlie gave a whole new meaning to the term, ghost writer.
Those of us who have had “haunting” experiences know exactly how this made you feel. It appears that you were chosen by Charlie. Do you have a theory as to why you’ve been chosen to write the books you write?
A: I love this question. Have you ever written a paragraph or sentence then sat back and said, “Wow. Where did that come from?” Pay attention to the voices in your head. Spirits are great story tellers. While I’m not a religious person, I am spiritual. I strongly believe in life-after-death and the presence of loved ones and others that have passed. The veil between their world and ours is onion-skin thin, however very few people can see or hear them, or if they do, they dismiss it as imagination. These souls know I hear them. Consequently, when they have a story to tell, they seek me out. I’m honored that they do.
That’s amazing that you are so open. And another amazing thing is that you were able to find a publisher who appreciated where you were coming from. You have found two indie publishers for your work. Do you prefer working with small independent publishers or have you considered publishing your own work as E books?
A: I don’t have the time to devote to learning and publishing my own E-books at this time, and why should I? I’m fortunate to have two wonderful small, independent publishers, The Wild Rose Press and High Hill Press. I’m sticking with a good thing.
Can’t say as I blame you. No matter what publisher we snag, it’s necessary to do much of our own promotion. How do you feel about social media and creating a platform? How important is this to you?
A: Social media makes my head hurt and I’m not 100% sure what a platform is. Since everyone and their cats are telling me how important these things are, however, I’m out there trying to learn it. Do I think it’s important? Time will tell.
One last question. If you had a choice, what would you do: travel, meet Stephen King, write a best seller?
A: Write a best seller which would allow me to travel and meet Stephen King.
Tell us what you’re working on now.
A: I’m working on another romance, The Legend of Dixie Dandelion, The Beginning. Dixie is a rootin’, tootin’ cowgirl who tries to tame the west along with the love of her life, Pinkerton Detective, Jackson McCullough.
Please share an excerpt from one of your books and covers of both. From the Rook and The Raven:
Excerpt from The Rook and the Raven
A figure stood tall and wickedly dark by the moonstruck water.
Moonlight broke from the clouds and bathed his chiseled profile in sensuous light.
My breath caught.
To say he was handsome would be an injustice. To compare him to a Greek God, an insult. Gorgeous? Magnificent?
There were no words in the English language that could describe the essence that was The Rook.
Without thought or hesitation, I walked into outstretched arms and shuddered in his embrace.
My knees trembled when his long fingers slid sensuously over my bare arm and lifted my chin to gaze into eyes that gleamed like silver-white mercury. A muscle twitched in his square jaw and a slow smile, half mischievous, half dangerous made my stomach fall to my feet.
He took my mouth with savage intensity.
It wasn’t a kiss.
It was rapture.